The commonly used keyed Shengs in the Chinese orchestra are the 36-reed and 38-reed soprano keyed Shengs. The soprano keyed Sheng is played in the sitting position, however, the newer keyed Sheng can be played in the standing position with a neck strap attached.
In 1974, the first 36-reed keyed Sheng was manufactured in a small factory located in a village. Mr Wang Hui Zhong was the key person in designing the 36-reed keyed Sheng. The 36-reed keyed Sheng (g – f#3) actually evolved from the earlier 32-reed keyed Sheng (g – d3) which was designed by Mr Yang Da Ming in 1963.
In 2000, Mr Cheng Tak Wai successfully showcased the 38-reed keyed Sheng (g – g#3) and 42-reed key Sheng (g – c4) which were designed by him. The design of these two keyed Shengs is based on the 36-reed key Sheng.
The keyed Sheng is one of the most commonly used soprano Shengs in the modern Chinese orchestra and is also a popular solo instrument. The Sheng shown below is the 38-reed soprano keyed Sheng.